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Margaret Leighton

Margaret Leighton, Anitha Martine, Julius Massaga, Emmanuel Bunzari.

This paper presents causal evidence on the impact of parenting practices on early child development. We exploit exogenous changes in nurturing care induced by a parent training intervention to estimate the impact of nurturing parenting practices on child outcomes. We find a large and significant impact measured at age two; in contrast, at age four nurturing care has only a modest, and imprecisely estimated, impact on child outcomes. This is despite the fact that the intervention induced substantial changes in parenting practices at both ages. The differential relationship between child development and nurturing care at ages two and four explains the fade-out in treatment effects for the intervention as a whole: although parents continued to respond, their response no longer had the intended effect on child outcomes.

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Margaret Leighton, Jamin D. Speer.

Expected earnings matter for college major choices, and majors differ in both their average earnings and the age profile of their earnings. We show that students' family background is strongly related to the earnings paths of the major they choose. Students with more educated parents, especially those who have graduate degrees, choose majors with lower early-career earnings but much faster earnings growth. They are also less likely to choose safe majors with little early-career earnings or unemployment downside. Parental income has a weaker relationship with major choice and operates mostly through the type of institution the student attends.

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